Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yet again...WALLACE. HALL. VINDICATED!!!!!!!!

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Empower Texans beats us to the punch:
A Travis County Grand Jury sent out notice earlier today that University of Texas Regent and whistleblower Wallace Hall will not be indicted on any charges, but not before they attempted to besmirch his reputation in a baffling public letter calling for less transparency.

The grand jury was investigating whether or not Hall abused his official capacity as a regent and misused public information in issuing open records requests. He issued the requests as part of an investigation into whether or not legislators were abusing their clout in order to gain admission to UT-Austin for under-qualified students.


In their comments, members of the grand jury recommended removing Hall after they just cleared him of all charges. “We are appalled at the Regent’s unaccountable and abusive behavior,” the report contradictorily states. The jury’s observations go on to say “Hall used his positional power to the point of abuse,” one of the very charges they determined lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.

More baffling, however, is that the grand jury simultaneously observed, “Transparency and accountability are key elements in maintaining citizens’ trust in their government,” but then went on to recommend UT revise its policies to make records requests prohibitively difficult for regents.

It speaks volumes that the grand jury, whose recommendations and observations cast it as a mere apologist for UT’s established leadership, would not indict Regent Hall despite taking an extra three months to investigate him. Hall has been vindicated at every turn, despite baseless attacks on him for actually doing his job, instead of just playing along.
Read the whole thing here.

Later this afternoon, he released a statement:
Following the announcement from the jury, Hall broke his silence saying, “The campaign by Speaker Straus, Representative Flynn and Senator Seliger to criminalize my service as a Regent constitutes abuse of office. Their use of the levers of political power to cover up wrongdoing by legislators should now be investigated, and those exposed for their abuses should be driven from office.”
Kudos, again, to Wallace; it's a shame that Governor Abbott has thrown in with the U.T. politburo.

Wallace Hall remains on the board for at least 23 months; expect U.T. governance to be a much bigger issue in the 2016 Republican primaries.

School Choice and the Texas Hispanic Community

"Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life."
Proverbs 4:13

The Texas Public Policy Foundation, along with the Libre Initiative, held an event this afternoon: School Choice and the Hispanic Community.  Ironically, the event was held on the same day that the Texas House is going to take up an anti-School Choice budget amendment.  The event below.

Michael Barba (TPPF):

  • Gaps between Hispanic and White students haven't changed in 20 years.
  • Hispanics drop out at three times the rate of White Students.
  • I can side against parents having options because I had options.
  • School Choice is a means, not an end.
  • Fantastic hearing last Thursday.

  • Traditional public, homeschool, Charter schools, Virtual schools, and private are the five models.
  • Parents and Students are customers.
  • Your ability to take your business elsewhere "drives innovation."
  • We should give public schools a premium.
    • Author's Note: We don't particularly agree, but we're willing to make the concession if it'll move a bill.
  • Parents know best.
  • "It's not the government's decision."
  • We don't discriminate based on demographics, we discriminate via Zip Code.
  • School choice will not happen until the Latino community leads.

  • It's an issue of school quality, not poverty.
  • Middle class kids aren't doing great.\
  • Texas has very low proficiency standards.
  • Less than 1/3rd of students at one high income school in Coppell.
  • All parents should be concerned about school quality.


  • His charter school district has a 1500+ waiting list.
  • Florida is expanding school choice; Texas has barely started.
  • School choice rally last Friday in Brownsville.
  • Events in San Antonio and Dallas coming up.
  • Libre in Seven states.
  • School choice is a Hispanic issue.
  • Other Hispanic orgs aren't doing the legwork.


  • Within public schools, you have to have parental involvement.
  • Intense positive character education.
  • Life is not meant to to be complicated.
  • A lot of rural legislators are afraid of educrats.
  • We've never made the case to Republican voters about how school choice benefits them personally; we always present it as an altruistic thing to help someone else.

First Amendment Tuesday: Week 11

"and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,"
Ephesians 6:19

Update (7:01 pm): An in-district source informs us that Isaac intends to vote no on the anti-School Choice amendment; we will observe and note accordingly.

Today is budget day in the Texas House; the LLP coalition outlined both opportunities and pitfalls to this process presents.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • A lot of the amendments the House of Straus will consider today deal with defunding border security operations and pro-Tenth Amendment litigation.
  • John Otto wants to add at least $800 million (and possibly as much as $3 billion) to public education.
  • Can't trust the order in which they release amendments.
  • Calendars committee can set rules for floor debate.
  • You have to find savings for new spending but (new this session) you can cut without plowing savings into other programs.
  • Major events trust fund -- Tried to give NASCAR ex post facto subsidies.
    • Unconstitutional, but the House didn't care and measure passed with 120+ votes.

  • 892 failing schools  in Texas.
  • House Leadership will "motion to table" good amendments.

  • Marriage bills left pending; ditto ALAC.
  • SB 1340 (Huffines) to eliminate red light cameras still in limbo.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Which Texas Senate Republicans are defending Travis County's DA?!?

"The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
1 Samuel 2:10

Update (3/31/2015): The Houston Chronicle reports that Eltife's colleagues have fingered him out while Seliger has confessed; Empower Texans has more here.

A Republican bill to transfer the Public Integrity Unit out of Travis County is snagged in the Senate, where the legislation does not have enough support to force a floor vote.

News that Senate Bill 10 has been blocked came in a Monday letter by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate and who has made moving the Public Integrity Unit out of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office a legislative priority.


Legislation must have support from 19 senators to allow a floor vote — a requirement that was lowered from 21 votes at the start of the session to let the body’s 20 Republicans move forward on GOP priorities. Watson’s letter indicates that at least two Republicans are not on board with SB 10.

[Author's Note: Emphasis Added.]
While the article never identifies the Republican holdouts, common sense guided by history (combined with the fact that Craig Estes and Troy Fraser voted for the bill in committee) leads one to conclude that Kevin Eltife and Kel Seliger are the likeliest suspects.

Senator Kevin Eltife: (512) 463-0101; @KevinEltife
Senator Kel Seliger: (512) 463-0131; @KSeliger

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Movie Review: The Drop Box

"When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me."
Psalm 27:10

[Verse inscribed above "drop box" outside Pastor Lee's home]

Caring for babies and children with special needs, or who come from economically difficult circumstances, is a task pro-lifers often face.  Across the globe, we accept this reality and move forward to do good.  For cultural reasons, these challenges are especially acute in Korea.

The Drop Box tells the story of Lee Jong-rak, a Seoul pastor who runs a ministry for abandoned children.  In Korea, when they aren't aborted, babies born to teenage mothers or with special needs are often abandoned to die.  Pastor Lee founded the Jursurang (God's Love) community to give young mothers another option.

Pastor Lee's story begins with his biological son, Eun-Man (God's Grace).  Born with crippling cerebral palsy, Eun-Man spent most of his first 14 years in hospitals.  At one point, the financial strains were so severe that the Lee's had to sell their home and move into the hospital.  During this time, caring for Eun-Man metamorphosed from being a burden to a blessing as his parents learned first hand the value of life.  As they spent many long days in hospitals, other disabled children would come up and befriend them.  Over 14 years, Pastor Lee and his wife adopted an additional four special needs children.

Last decade, Pastor Lee took Hanna into his home.  The brain damaged daughter of a 14 year old who had abused drugs during her pregnancy, Hanna wasn't expected to survive more than a few months.  She ended up living another six years.  During this time, Pastor Lee vowed to do everything he could to help disabled children.  He installed the Drop Box in 2009.

In the film, we meet several of the children under Pastor Lee's care.  There's On-Ew, who recently learned to walk even with down syndrome.  Gi-Ri, a precocious boy, has survived multiple heart surgeries since being abandoned.  Ru-ri, ten years old, has a special talent for Tae Kwan Do and was recently elected class President.  As the film says, "God sent every one of them to Earth with a purpose."

Our biggest unresolved question following the film was "how does he pay for it"?!?  Obviously, children are expensive.  Children with special needs are even more so.  In addition, the film alludes to conflicts with the existing adoption bureaucracy.  For example, we learn about Pastor Lee losing certain government benefits after taking in children.  Unfortunately, the film does not go into detail on either subject.  It's a shame, doing so would have painted a more complete picture of God's grace and provision.

While drop boxes, and ministries like Pastor Lee's, are helpful, they are not the ultimate solution.  As Pastor Lee says "I always pray that there will be no more abandoned babies in this country and no more in our baby box. That’s all I want.”  Ultimately, this is a matter of the heart, and we need to restore a culture of life across the globe.  As the film explains, "it's not only Korea that has this problem."  That being said, until Christ returns and redeems fallen humanity, ministries like Pastor Lee's are crucial to show Christ's love to a lost and dying world.  The Drop Box is a life-affirming story that celebrates adoption and provides a model for pro-Lifers globally.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lawrence Billy Jones III discusses censorship at North Texas Islamic Conference

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

Texas State Capitol -- Lawrence Jones of the Blaze discussed being shut down when attempting to cover the recent "Stand with the Prophet" conference in Garland, TX:

  • Texans don't give up.
  • "Texas will not go out without a fight."
  • At recent event: "At first, they didn't even want to let us in the building."
  • "If this is the religion of peace, let us in."
  • "The information we are discussing is way too sensitive."
  • After they kicked us out, we don't know what they did.
  • "ISIS is real, the Muslim Brotherhood is real."

New Austin City Council does something right

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

In case you were still skeptical that the new council is light-years better than the old one:
Intersection improvements. Better signal timing. And a crackdown on drivers who block intersections.

Austin officials announced a slew of efforts Friday morning targeted at reducing the traffic congestion, ranging from immediate fixes to longer-term undertakings. Officials hope the cumulative effect will ease some of the pain felt by commuters each day.

“It’s time for us to start trying new things,” Mayor Steve Adler said.

Among the efforts drivers should notice first: Police officers stationed at key intersections to help keep traffic moving; a crackdown on delivery trucks blocking critical roads during commuting periods; limiting the places for mid-block left-turns that can cause traffic to back up; and an aggressive “Don’t Block the Box” campaign to remind drivers not to pull midway into an intersection, only to block traffic when the signal changes.

Other initiatives will take more time. The city plans to ramp up efforts to use “smart signals” and other technology to adjust signal timing based on traffic flow, coordinate signal timing along corridors and adjust the timing to keep buses rolling through green lights.
Austin no longer has the craziest local government in this state; if that's not proof miracles really happen, we don't know what is....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: Hands Off My Gun, by Dana Loesch

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Ephesians 6:12-13

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. was denied a permit to own a handgun "as a result of gun control laws put into effect by white male Democrats" (146)?!?  Neither did we.  Then we read Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the plot to disarm America, Dana Loesch's cogent, succinct defense of the second amendment.

Loesch's 2014 release is one stop shopping for those who support the Second Amendment but don't have all the facts memorized.  While the entire book is worth reading, the most riveting chapters detail the degree to which anti-Second Amendment advocates hire private security, the ability of women to use firearms to protect themselves from rape, and the origins of gun control in the Jim Crow south.  Historically, disarming the target population has been a pre-condition for other attacks on civil liberties.

Loesch's zeal for the Second Amendment gained a sense of urgency in 2009 (7), when her family still lived in St. Louis.  That summer, during the first round of Tea Party protests, a man named Kenneth Gladney was beaten by Union Thugs outside of a Missouri congressman's town hall (8).  While the story made national headlines, for those of us outside St. Louis it faded into the background.  Loesch, however, was living it.  After the national media moved on, as she continued to cover the story locally, Loesch received threats and was followed around town (9).  Then, they threatened her children (10).  To understand's Dana Loesch's commitment to the Second Amendment, you have to understand that story.

Women's self-defense is one of the strongest motifs in the book.  As Loesch explains, firearms are "the ultimate equalizer for women" (140).  She details several examples where women have used firearms to prevent assault and, sadly, others where disarmed women were left to the mercy of their rapists.  Unfortunately, women's safety is unimportant to anti-Second Amendment politicans.  Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo's recent comments are a representative example:

Hands Off My Gun lists more facts than we can include in a seven-paragraph review.  Many of them were new to this author.  Examples include:
  • The mother of the Sandy Hook shooter, Nancy Lanza, "had failed to properly and safely store her guns."  (29)
  • "Three Sandy Hooks take place every month in Chicago, the progressive model for gun control." (39)
  • All of the victims of the Columbine shooting "were killed within the first 15 minutes of the shooting." (109)
  • That "anti-gun extremists don't even want our troops to carry on base, which has resulted in several massacres over the past few years on our military bases, twice at Fort Hood." (144)
  • The anti-Second Amendment reasoning behind the Dred Scott decision. (152)
  • The goal of taxing firearms ownership in the Jim Crow south "was a set of laws that made guns too expensive for black Southerners to afford." (157)
  • During the revolution, "the patriots were armed from the start of the war with the British Brown Bess, which was the firearm of choice for the British Army." (168)
Our only beef with the book is that it fails to discuss abortion.  It's not a secret that some of the loudest anti-Second Amendment advocates, who hide behind "protecting children," are also some of the most rabidly pro-abortion.  Michael Bloomberg is a case in point.  Personally, we've always found this reprehensible.  That being said, we understand why it would not be considered germane to a discussion of the second amendment.

Citizens are responsible for their self-defense.  While law enforcement and the corrections system aid public safety (most of the time), they are inherently reactive.  Protection, by contrast, is proactive.  This is even more true for women.    Unfortunately, anti-Second Amendment Extremists have targeted our civil liberties.  Defending them requires us to be armed with truth.  Hands off My Gun, by Dana Loesch, is a fantastic place to start.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Senate Passes Tax Relief; House Wastes Day (hears shady stuff late)....

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Luke 16:13

(Author's Note: The belated hearing of the Texas House State Affairs Committee can be viewed here.)

Texas State Capitol -- When the Texas House released it's schedule for today, it said the Committee on State Affairs would convene at 10:30 A.M.  The committee was scheduled to hear testimony on four AWFUL bills and one good bill.  We found it strange when we saw the Texas Tribune report that the full house would convene at noon.

As we approached the hearing room, an ideologically sympathetic friend informed this author that state affairs had been delayed until after the full House adjourned from the floor AND that they were going to consider the texting while driving ban.  In other words, the committee hearing was postponed until the end of the floor debate on a controversial topic.  Gotcha.

The state affairs committee was scheduled to hear several bills related to campaign finance and donor privacy.  By scheduling the hearing to commence at 10:30 then scheduling the House to convene at noon to take up a controversial topic, Chairman Byron Cook knew he'd be able to postpone the hearing on the shady legislation until evening.  Byron Cook was making a delay play.

(Sidenote: As we type this sentence, at 8:23 P.M., none of the important bills have even started.)

After a long lunch, we stopped into the House gallery around 12:45pm, where they were passing multiple resolutions honoring firefighters.

Then we decided to check out the Senate!!!

They were talking TAX RELIEF!!!

The Texas Senate was in the process of passing the largest tax cut in Texas' history out of the full chamber.  As part of the process, they were 'hazing' Sen. Paul Bettancourt as he passed his first bill.  Apparently, when a new Texas Senator passes their first bill out of the body, the other Senators ask obnoxious nit-picky questions as a rite of passage.

As we said in a text message:
Everything you need to know about the two houses: Senate debating tax relief; House passing "we love firefighters" resolution.... (12:56 PM)
At 1:22 PM, we returned to the house gallery.  They were beginning to debate the texting ban.  Then we had the amendments.

The House debated over a dozen amendments.  Nothing wrong with that.  It was a lousy bill to begin with, so why not attempt to improve it?!?

But the full House slow walked the amendment process; the only interesting part of this debate was that the Black Democrats and the Tea Party, led by Harold Dutton and Jonathan Stickland, worked together to defeat the bill.

As we said in text messages:
  • It would not surprise me if they keep taking amendments on this texting bill for a couple hours.  (3:20 PM) 
  • They're going slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.  (3:23 PM)
At 4:14 PM, we received an e-mail from the Lt. Governor's Office:

At 5:07 PM, we received another e-mail from the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
TPPF Statement on Passage of Senate Tax-Cut Package

AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Senate passed a tax-cut package, which includes Senate Joint Resolution 1 and its enabling legislation Senate Bill 1, an amended version of Senate Bill 7, and Senate Bill 8.

SJR 1 and SB 1 provide property tax relief by raising the homestead exemption for school districts from $15,000 to 25 percent of the statewide median home value. SB 7 cuts the business margin tax rates by 15 percent and the amendment calls for a study on full repeal of the margin tax with a report due to the Legislature next September. SB 8 raises the revenue exemption level for the margin tax from $1 million to $4 million.

Texas Public Policy Foundation Vice President of Research and Director of the Center for Economic Freedom Bill Peacock issued the following statement:

“Today was a first step in the process of giving Texans badly needed tax cuts,” said Peacock. “The $4.6 billion in property and business tax cuts adopted by the Senate moves us in the right direction. However, we continue to support the complete elimination of the state’s onerous margin tax.”
Around the time we received the e-mail from TPPF, the house voted to pass the texting ban.

That's when this author left the Capitol.

Just before 6PM, Byron Cook called the state affairs hearing (originally scheduled for 10:30 AM) to order.

Then they went through fluff bills for three hours while we wrote this blog entry.

Just fifteen minutes ago, we received a text message:
Marriage up first (8:55 PM)
That's the good bill, which deals with marriage; that means, as we write this sentence at 9:12 PM, the Texas House's State Affairs committee has yet to hear the five AWFUL bills that restrict your first amendment, campaign finance, and donor privacy rights.

To summarize today in the Texas Legislature: Dan Patrick's Senate passed record tax relief.  Joe Straus' House passed frivious nanny state regulations.  As you read this (Straus lieutenant) Byron's Cook is attempting to curtail your first amendment and donor privacy rights under the cover of night.

Chairman Byron Cook: (512) 463-0370

Watch the hearing livestream here.


Update (3/26/2015, 9:16 AM): The hearing was still going on when this author fell asleep around 1;30 AM last night.

Paxton Rebukes local Austin special interest group

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Multiple Level Awesomeness:
A dispute over whether the Downtown Austin Alliance should have given $440,000 to last year’s failed light rail campaign, money that overwhelmingly came from a tax on downtown property owners, has moved to the Travis County courthouse.

But as is often the case with such matters, the legal argument is centered on a side issue — whether the alliance is a “governmental body” — and the resolution, when it comes, will not specifically address or bar such campaign contributions in the future.

The nonprofit alliance, under its formal name of Austin DBO Inc., on March 10 sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asking the court to overrule a March 3 “letter ruling” by Paxton that the alliance is a governmental body and thus must surrender records requested in December by Austin activist Brian Rodgers. The case is pending, as is a nearly identical suit the alliance filed last year in response to a similar ruling by Paxton’s predecessor as attorney general, now-Gov. Greg Abbott.


The alliance was founded in May 1992 by a group of downtown property owners as an advocacy group for the central business district. Responding to a petition from downtown property owners, the Austin City Council in 1993 formed a “public improvement district” roughly bounded by Interstate 35, MLK Jr. Boulevard, San Antonio Street and Lady Bird Lake (although the Austin American-Statesman property and the Hyatt south of the lake are also in the district). The city levies an additional 10 cents per $100 of property value in that area, exempting the first $500,000 on each property, and forwards that tax money four times a year to the alliance.

That tax supplied about 98.3 percent of the alliance’s $3.3 million budget in 2014, according to the alliance’s annual report. Travis County contributed another $25,000.

Last year, the alliance made four donations to Let’s Go Austin, eventually providing about 40 percent of the $1.1 million the group spent to support the city’s light rail referendum. The alliance’s then-executive director Charlie Betts (he has since retired) said that the donations were legal and that the group had given to earlier issue-oriented campaigns (though not individual candidates) such as school bond elections and the Central Health vote for a University of Texas medical school.


Bill Aleshire, Rodgers’ lawyer and a former Travis County judge, said that if Rodgers prevails, he expects the records will generate anger from the public and legislators. That alone could discourage the alliance from making such contributions in the future, he said.
Read the whole thing here.

Bottom Line: If you have taxing authority, you are a governmental agency for purposes of open records laws.  Kudos to Attorney General Paxton for recognizing this distinction.  Double kudos for recognizing this distinction in the context of last year's urban rail boondoggle.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

First Amendment Tuesday: Week 10

"and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,"
Ephesians 6:19

First Amendment Tuesday hit it's high-water mark for attendance this session earlier today.

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • Citizen activists are not lobbyists.
  • Amendment process
    • You can't do it with any bill.
    • Prevents Massive "Christmas Tree" bills a. la. D.C.
    • Bills have to be limited to one topic.
    • Ultimately, the members decide a point of order.
  • Members frequently leave legislation pending after a committee hearing; you shouldn't get suspicion until it's been left pending over a week.

  • Religious liberty amendment borrows language from Hobby Lobby case.
  • Religious liberty involves telling government TO STOP ACTIVITY.
  • Jason Villalba dropped religious liberty amendment, Matt Krause picked it up.
  • Bill in State Affairs on Marriage tomorrow.

  • Recaps toll and marriage rallies.
  • "Without marriage, America implodes."
  • HB 1745 by Bell, hearing tomorrow.
  • American laws for American Courts (ALAC) getting hearing today.
    • 10 other states have passed it.
  • "A test is valuable, an 'assessment' is devious."

  • CWA also supports ALAC.
  • ALAC is about protecting women.
  • School choice hearing at 9AM Thursday.

  • Parental rights restoration
    • Protects single parents.
    • Grandparents frequently do this in cases of homeschooling.

Debunking Farcical Claims from the Abortion Industry

"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight."
Proverbs 12:22

Texas Right to Life debunks some of the sillier claims pro-abortion advocates made at a recent event:


  • Women are safer without abortion.  When TxRTL obtained state records of all abortion mills in Texas from July 2011-2012, 14 abortion mills FAILED health and safety inspections.
  • Since the passage of the pro-life omnibus legislation in 2013 (HB 2), abortion chains have purposefully built new facilities only in high-traffic, high-profit, metropolitan areas.
  • HB 2 mandates basic safety and structural standards required by other surgical centers.  Abortion centers to not want to spend this money and effort on behalf of women.  The abortion mills that have closed chose not to comply with these measures so as to protect their bottom line.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Defending Texas from Administrative and Judicial Tryanny

"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,"
Ephesians 6:14

Since his inauguration in January, Attorney General Paxton has been a busy man.  He's defended Texas' Marriage laws from rogue judges in Travis County, the second Amendment from the Obama administration, and he's given Obama's executive amnesty major setbacks.  This afternoon, he spoke about the marriage cases at the Texas Marriage rally:

  • #TXLEGE passed state level DOMA in 2003.
  • 75$ of voters approved constitutional amendment in 2005.
  • Shenanigans in Travis county forced them to get two stays from the Texas Supreme court.

Toll Free Day at the Texas Capitol

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Toll Free Texas held their lobby day today at the Capitol.  The coalition is led by Texans United for Reform and Freedom and encompasses grassroots groups from around the state.  Toll Free Texas seeks to roll back toll roads, eliminate waste in transportation spending, and restore transportation spending to a pay-as-you-go basis.

The event was notable for the changes it reveals in the 84th legislature compared to the 83rd.  Senators Don Huffines and Lois Kolhorst, neither of who was in their current position last session, were featured prominently.  On the house side, every representative who spoke had voted for Scott Turner at the beginning of the session.  House leadership was conspicuous in their absence.  Given the unpopularity of toll roads in this state, it would not surprise use to see House leadership boxed in on this issue.

According to organizers, this session is the first of the five they've been active that good bills outnumber bad bills (and that by 3:1 margin).

Cathie Adams (Texas Eagle Forum):

  • In the past, Texas used to make toll roads free after their construction costs were paid off.
  • Public/Private "partnerships" are a grotesque form of cronyism.

  • No eminent domain for toll roads.
  • Go back to pay-as-you-go.
  • End Public/Private "Partnerships"

  • Roads a fundamental function of government.
  • No double taxation.

  • "My district is surrounded by toll roads."
  • Collin County reps committed to getting rid of tolls.
    • Author's Note: Then where the heck was Jodie Laubenberg?!?

  • "A number of my friends are paying more in toll fees than in city taxes."
  • "H.O.V lanes are a social experiment that has failed."

  • Texas needs to put an end to toll roads.
  • Once debt is paid off, tolls are removed.

  • Need proper funding for toll free roads
  • Supports toll-free Texas.

  • Tea Party really began with fight against trans-Texas corridor.
  • Transportation is a tough issue.
  • 5000 to 9000 entities in this state have eminent domain authority.
  • People are paying more in tolls than utilities in Texas.
  • SB 1601 -- Restricts ability to use eminent domain for high speed rail.
  • "We have waste at TxDOT and we're working on that."

  • SB 5 covers ending diversions.
  • Make tollways send annual statements.
  • People on mobility authorities should be elected.
  • Transparency, transparency, transparency....
  • We should have a statewide policy for state highways.


  • Filed 11 bills on this topic
  • "It is a new day."
  • They want to toll every highway in DFW.
  • Traffic is a natural consequence of population growth.
  • Transportation should be 35% of the budget, currently 8%.
    • Author's Note: See here
  • Roads are a fundamental function of government.
  • Filed a bill to end diversions.
  • "No one in this building is talking about fully funding TxDOT."
  • There's a lot of money to be saved by simple actions.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Jana Duty Aids and Abets Evidence Suppression

"For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful
Have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue."
Psalm 109:2

While the Travis County District Attorney's office remains an embarrassment, our neighbor to the north continues to not do much better:
GEORGETOWN — The Williamson County district attorney’s office has fired back against accusations that it withheld evidence before a capital murder trial last year, according to court documents.

A former employee for the district attorney’s office could not have seen time stamps on a Wal-Mart surveillance video before the trial of Crispin Harmel — as alleged this week by the defense — because the video was played on a computer that did not have the correct software to show them, said Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty in court documents filed Thursday.

Harmel’s case, which ended in a mistrial in May, was scheduled to be retried March 30.


Prosecutors gave the defense a copy of the video before the May 2014 trial without any time stamps on it, according to the documents. But Jernigan said prosecutors already knew about the time stamps because former investigator Royger Harris said, in an affidavit filed March 11, that the video had time stamps when he watched it with Duty before May 2013, according to the court filings.

Duty responded in court documents filed Thursday that the computer in her office on which Harris watched the video only recorded time on a “counter” and not on time stamps. A counter shows the amount of time it takes to record a video and not the actual time of day the video was recorded.
Read the whole thing here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Open Carry #SxSW: Two RADICALLY Different Marches

"The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked."
Proverbs 10:3

Last Sunday, Lone Star Gun Rights held their annual open carry march through SxSW.  While we attended it, it was so uneventful that we didn't write it up.  The next day, however, the New Black Panthers held their own march through SxSW.  Unlike the regular march, their event was marked by threats to both civilians and police alike.  The contrast speaks for itself.

First up, the Black Panthers:

[Author's note: We're not crazy about using video from Infowars, but they were the only ones who had a cameraman present; also, the video speaks for itself.]

By contrast, here's a representative sample of close to two hours of video footage we collected at LSGR's event the day before:


No comment necessary.


One final note: While this is NOT CONFIRMED, this website heard a rumor that that the Black Panthers' weapons were loaded; LSGR, by contrast, always keeps their weapons unloaded during marches.

Todd Hunter reveals how to move bills out of Calendars

"The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."
Proverbs 18:15

"Rule Four: Make the enemy live up to it's own book of rules."
Saul Alinsky

Last Tuesday, Texas House Calendars Committee chairman Todd Hunter spoke to Republican activists at the Republican Party of Texas' lobby day; we're going to file these comments away for later use:


  • 15 members on the committee.
  • "If you come to my office...it's GW 5; I have a system setup.  I have green cards and red cards.  And you, as the public, can come fill it out and tell me what bills you support and what you don't."
  • "What I'm encouraging you to do is to learn the process and come by the office."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

U.T. keeps Digging

"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
Proverbs 29:1

In light of the Kroll report, it looks like the Fischer case is going to be re-opened:
In the last few days, the corrupt practices discovered by Hall -- funny money at the law school, secret backdoor admissions for relatives of legislators, bogus accounting of endowment funds and more -- have spurred a cascade of negative external consequences for UT.

Plaintiffs in the longstanding Abigail Fisher reverse discrimination litigation this week filed a new writ in the U.S. Supreme Court charging that the university's system for achieving racial diversity "is a sham," citing evidence first discovered by Hall and confirmed in subsequent investigations.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni in Washington yesterday issued a blistering condemnation of efforts we told you about here Monday by a state senator who wants to pass a law against university trustees asking too many questions. Citing the Enron debacle, the council warns that putting directors in blindfolds and handcuffs is exactly the wrong way to go in seeking institutional responsibility.

No shit.

See also: Senate Bill Aims to Improve UT Oversight by Blinding Regents

Just in case somebody thought there was anything "conservative" about Amarillo Republican state Senator Kel Seliger's attempt to hog-tie university trustees and regents, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank in Austin, weighed in yesterday: Thomas K. Lindsay, director of the foundations' Center for Higher Education, wrote an open letter to Seliger explaining to him the concept of fiduciary responsibility:

"'Fiduciary'" derives from the Latin fiducia, for 'trust,'" Lindsay told Seliger. "A trustee possesses the legal power and duty to act on behalf of others, both the school and the Texas citizenry, under conditions requiring both complete trust and complete openness."

It's the same thing lawyers hired by a faked-up impeachment committee in the Legislature told the committee about the charges it wanted to bring against Hall for asking too many questions: Asking questions was the dude's job, people. You're supposed to ask questions, too, you know.


Instead every bloody inch of the way they have fought to muzzle Hall, to bring criminal charges against him and now to make it illegal for trustees and directors in the future to ask the same tough questions Hall has asked.

You may think this is overdrawn, but I think the Legislature so far had displayed the morals of the Mafia. Instead of seeing a truth-teller in Hall, they want to rub him out for squealing on them.

And now this mentality has placed the university in front of the Supreme Court of the United States having to explain why it did not reveal to the court the secret backdoor admissions system for children of legislators with low test scores.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Empower Texans WHUPS Texas "Ethics" Commission....AGAIN!!!

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

DENTON, Texas – Re-affirming the decision of a previous district court judge’s ruling, the Texas Ethic Commission’s politically-motivated case against the president of Empower Texans was dismissed.

Ruling that the TEC actions against Michael Quinn Sullivan were in violation of the state’s Citizen’s Participation Act, the court affirmed the initial dismissal of the case by Denton County’s 158th District Court Judge Steve Burgess.

“Twice now a court has ruled that the Texas Ethics Commission violated Sullivan’s First Amendment rights,” said lead counsel Joe Nixon. “The commission was flat-out wrong, which has now been twice affirmed.”


The TEC can appeal the ruling to the 2nd Court of Appeals, resulting in more costs to taxpayers.

“What I have witnessed for three years is that the TEC has devolved into an agency in which their process is the punishment. For the sake of silencing the critics of their political puppet-masters, the TEC will smear anyone and violate the most basic of rights,” said Sullivan. “I’m honored to be in this fight so other Texans won’t have to.”
Read the whole thing here.

SB 177: Power Grab by the U.T. Politburo

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

Last session, the Texas Legislature (led by Dan Branch) passed SB 15, a measure that would have undermined the authority of Regents in university governance.  Specifically, the bill would have required university bureaucrats to sign off any time a Board of Regents wanted to replace a university president.  The bill was designed to protect Bill Powers and undermine Wallace Hall.  This website vehemently opposed that bill and encouraged former Governor Perry to veto it.  Fortunately, the former Governor agreed.

Unfortunately, SB 15 is back this session as SB 177 and this time the Governor doesn't support Higher Ed reform; even worse, the Texas Senate Higher education committee is expected to vote on SB 177 this morning.

Specifically, SB 177 states:
(a-5)AAThe governing board of a university system may terminate the employment of an institution ’s president or other chief executive officer only after receiving a recommendation to that effect under Section 51.353(b)(7), but the board is not required to act on that recommendation.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
In addition, SB 177 redefines the duties of Regents to:
preserve institutional independence and...defend each institution’s...right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administrators and employees;
In other words, Regents will no longer be expected to protect the public but will instead be assigned to protect the bureaucrats from scrutiny.

SB 177 is a usurpation of Regent authority that will further insulate university bureaucrats from public accountability.

Texas Senate Higher Education chairman Kel Seliger: (512) 463-0131

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Troxclair backs Zimmerman on Code Compliance accountability

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

Good news from city hall, via Austin Monitor:
Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Troxclair backs Zim’s Code directive

City Council Member Ellen Troxclair has signed on as a co-sponsor to Council Member Don Zimmerman’s new resolution that would force the Code Compliance Department to pay a prevailing citizen when the department loses a case in Municipal Court. Zimmerman posted a resolution on the Council bulletin board last week that would direct the city manager to take money out of the Code Compliance Department budget to pay attorney’s fees for Austinites like Matthew Palmer, who was found not guilty by a Municipal Court jury. The department took Palmer to court over a fence he put around his recreational vehicle. Zimmerman found no co-sponsors for last week’s resolution. However, Troxclair signed on to the new proposal. They need two more co-sponsors to get the item on the Council agenda. Palmer continues to post stories on his Facebook page, That G*****n Fence, about other people who have had run-ins with the department.
- See more at: http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/whispers/#sthash.YvJQPGf7.dpuf

(h/t That Goddamn Fence)

Pro-Life Update: Former Fetus Day Recap

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5

Texas Right to Life recounts how (with some unsolicited help from the legacy GOP) they one-upped Planned Parenthood on their big day:


  • Legislators asked them for signs.
  • "Former Fetus" was chosen in response to language in a bill by Jessica Farrar.
  • 12 national stories and counting.
  • All their bills have been filed.

First Amendment Tuesday: Week 9

"and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,"
Ephesians 6:19

Several interesting developments at First Amendment Tuesday this morning:

Tony McDonald (Empower Texans):

  • You are not a lobbyist.
  • There are people in government who want to shut effective people down.
  • Bad but not big legislation passes all the time.
  • Germaneness -- Can't do mishmashed Christmas tree style bills the way they do it in D.C.
  • Byron Cook isn't a communist; communists believe in things!!!

  • Showing up makes a difference.
  • Communicating with staff is fine (and sometimes better).
  • If you have a personal story to tell, you should testify; if you don't, simply registering your position is fine.
  • Krause has picked up religious liberty amendment.
  • TAB -- Apparently "Religious Liberty is bad for business."
  • It's concerning that House state affairs is already hearing bad bills.

  • All of RTL's bills have been filed.
  • 2 bills on end of life.

  • 401 bills on education filed.
  • Texas Eagle Forum against all pre-K bills.
  • Zerwas is pushing an HPV bill.
    • Author's Note: Sounds like too much government action involving too many agencies for a cause that isn't worthwhile in the first place.


  • Tebow bill ongoing.
  • Parental rights restoration waiting on hearing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

U.T. cites Roe v. Wade to deny Open Records Request

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 1:7

In late February, we put in an open records request to U.T. regarding admissions holds in the current cycle.  Last Monday, they kicked it to the A.G's office for an opinion.  As part of that process, they sent us this legal absurdity today:

For reasons we don't care to discusses publicly at this time, we've been thinking about Roe v. Wade a LOT recently; if U.T. is going to cite that constitutional ABOMINATION to withhold information unrelated to abortion, our interest in seeing it overturned increases dramatically.

Matt McCall keeps his word

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

Having given Lamar Smith a run for his money last time, Matt McCall declared his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives last week:

  • "America is We the People and I love We the People."
  • "I respect Mr. Smith and his service."
  • "It's been 30 years now, at the end of this term, and as the military has a policy and tradition that after 30 years your work is done, and it is time to pass the torch."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Starving the Beast over the Long Run

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

YCT discusses the Texas Senate's spending proposals:
A lot has been said in recent days about the recent budgetary proposals put forward under the leadership of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

Last week, the Senate unveiled SB 15/SJR 3 and SB 16/SJR 4, which would give voters the option to exempt tax and debt relief from the spending cap.

Earlier this week, they unveiled SB 9/SJR 2 which would limit all spending (both state and federal dollars) in our budget to population growth plus inflation and increase the vote requirement to bust the spending cap to a three-fifths majority.


Together, Patrick’s proposals constrain the growth of government with a real spending limit and create a system by which the legislature is able to pay off debt during years of surplus and give tax relief without having to break the spending cap.

Additionally, these proposals take a lot of pressure off legislators to spend excessively down the road on education and new entitlements, because they will be limited to a reasonable spending cap and have a difficult threshold to overcome in order to break it.

In a lot of ways, these bills embody a fiscal conservative’s dream for the Legislature — they shrink the size of government while simultaneously ensuring that money is flexible enough to spend on the state’s priorities.

Kudos to the Lt. Governor for keeping his campaign promises.
 Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Which Texas House Republican endorsed Obamacare today?!?

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
Matthew 7:15

Speaks for itself:

Representative John Zerwas:
(512) 463-0657

The Coming U.T. Tuition Increase

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

So it's done:
All three of Gov. Greg Abbott's University of Texas regent appointees were confirmed by the Texas Senate on Wednesday. 
Current UT System Regent Steve Hicks — who was reappointed by Abbott — and new appointees David Beck and Sara Martinez Tucker were confirmed by sizable majorities two weeks after being grilled by senators during their nominations hearing for more than five hours.
Martinez Tucker was the sole appointee confirmed unanimously. Three senators —Konni Burton, R-Colleyville; Bob Hall, R-Edgewood; and Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown — voted against confirming Beck. Two — Burton and Hall — voted against confirming Hicks.
Obviously, this website does not support these regents...oh well.

The Silver Lining: he U.T. politburo is going to overreach this fall.  In addition to these new regents, we have a new chancellor, and we're about have a new president.  We expect the new folks to use their honeymoon period, right after the legislature leaves town, to push through a massive tuition increase this fall.

When that happens there will be a backlash that will make the legislature rue the day they allowed these Regents to assume office without asking for anything in return.

It gets better.

While the legislature won't stop this tuition increase, the timing means that the backlash will occur at the beginning of Republican legislative primary season.  Republican primary voters have only recently figured this issue out, but they've woken up.  We dare ANY Republican legislator to defend the progressive Higher Education bureaucrats on the heels of a massive tuition increase.

One final piece of advice to legislators: repeal tuition "deregulation" before you leave town...or face the consequences.